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Is There Any Pleasure and Sacrifice in Devotion?
Some herons were sitting by the side of a boggy pond. A swan happened to pass by, then a heron asked the swan, “Why are you face, eyes and toes red? Who are you?”
The swan replied, “I am a swan.”
The heron asked, “Where do you come from?”
The swan replied, “From the lake ‘Manas Sarovar’.”
The heron then asked, “What is it like there?”
The swan looked and said, “It is a garden of golden lotuses, the water of that beautiful lake is nectarean, and all around it, there are various types of trees and plants, fruits and flowers, beautifully arranged on jewel bedecked platforms.”
The heron stared wide-eyed and asked, “Are there any big-sized snails?”
The swan replied “No!”
At this the herons laughed loudly and ridiculed the swan, “Oh damn! When there are no snails there, how can you even consider it a lake? No one should go there.”
Often people in this material world with ulterior motives, are inclined to enquire about the objectives of pure devotion and the purpose of the institutions engaged in pure devotional practices.
Whenever they come to know about any performance or any institution which makes arrangement for chanting and listening to the glorification of Lord Shri Krishna or the eternal welfare of all living entities through the preaching of the holy names of the Lord, they ask, “Is there any practice of religion relating to service to mankind?”
To such people, the religion of service means material assistance to sick persons inflicted with plague, small-pox or cholera and to victims of floods, earthquakes, famines, and similar other natural calamities, through free distribution of food, clothing, shelter and the like.
Whenever these people are told by the devotees that the institutions thus practising pure devotional services do not undertake any such activities relating to so-called philanthropic services, then they laugh loudly or ridicule, saying that any such institution which does not care for philanthropic services such as medical assistance to patients suffering from plague, cholera, smallpox etc., distributing of food to the hungry people, water to the thirsty people, clothing to the poor. education to the illiterate masses and the like, is simply an institution for practising idleness meant for lazy, worthless folk. No discreet person should approach it
Such persons never accept any clarification that no temporary material assistance can be of permanent relief to those suffering folk unless and until an attempt is made to eradicate the root cause of eternal suffering of all the living entities.
The living entity is the eternal servitor of Lord Shri Krishna. It is only due to the forgetfulness about Lord Shri Krishna that the living entities are subjected to various types of material distress. Upon constantly listening to the glorification of the Lord Shri Krishna, when the living entity is awakened to his original consciousness about his own constitutional position, then and then only, the root cause of all sufferings will be eradicated. No other separate temporary endeavour for relieving physical and mental distress need be practised.
The best award to common people is to awaken in them self-realization by the mercy of the holy names of the Lord. Under the transcendental influence of such a practice, the root cause of all material distress of the suffering masses is eradicated with the least effort.
This process is applicable to the rich and the poor irrespectively for the cause of their eternal welfare. Through this process, an unprecedented harmony between universal and no-communal altruism, service mentality and selfish attitude may very well be fostered among the people. In fact there is no dearth of universal love and brotherhood in the matter of love Lord Shri Krishna, inasmuch as a single fraction of a coin is truly in existence within the huge amount of money adding to crores or billions. Universal brotherhood, patriotism etc. are all present in full existence within love for Shri Krishna.
As such, anyone who offers his love and devotion to the Lord, is truly offering his love to the entire mass of living entities. True devotees are not lazy nor are they selfish-minded. They are actually devoted day and night in the service of Krishna conscious people through preaching the glorification of the Lord.
Devotional service to the Lord is aimed at pleasing the Lord and this service does not permit any kind of personal enjoyment sacrifice. Anyone devoted to Lord Shri Krishna is fully imbued with all good qualities that we look for.